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How to add turmeric to your healthy diet

How to add turmeric to your healthy diet
LESLIE BECK
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2015 4:12PM EST

The question: I’ve heard turmeric is a healthy spice to add to foods. How much should I take each day? Should I take a supplement instead?

The answer: Turmeric root, which gives Indian curry and ballpark mustard their signature yellow colour, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Only recently, though, has the spice received the attention of scientists for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
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Research suggests extracts of turmeric can relieve symptoms of indigestion, prevent irritable bowel syndrome and alleviate knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Turmeric’s health benefits are attributed to an active ingredient called curcumin. The majority of studies have been focused on curcuma rather than turmeric.

Experiments in test tubes have demonstrated the ability of curcumin to kill colon-cancer cells. In people, preliminary evidence suggests taking curcumin may reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also been shown to prevent the development of Type-2 diabetes in people with prediabetes.

Earlier this month, a study published in Clinical Nutrition found that taking curcumin supplements reduced inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. A person is thought to have metabolic syndrome if he or she has a large waist circumference plus two or more of the following symptoms: high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, elevated fasting blood glucose and low HDL (good) cholesterol. The cluster of risk factors is thought to double the risk of heart attack and increase the likelihood of developing Type-2 diabetes fivefold.

You can buy turmeric as a fresh root in natural food stores (it looks like ginger root), in capsules containing powder and in tincture form. Curcumin is sold as a supplement in capsules. Supplements are best taken with food to increase the absorption of curcumin.

Despite the fact that turmeric has years of traditional use and some preliminary evidence of health benefits, it’s still an unproven treatment. As such, there is no standard dose of a turmeric or curcumin supplement to take. Speak to your health-care provider to determine which supplement – and how much – is right for you.

That said, fresh turmeric root or ground turmeric spice is a healthy addition to your diet. Add grated turmeric root or a pinch of turmeric powder to smoothies, rice and quinoa (when cooking), curries, soups, stir-fries, egg dishes and dips.
When used as a spice in foods, turmeric is considered safe. However, turmeric and curcumin supplements may not be safe for everyone. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking them. People with gallstones, individuals with bleeding disorders and those taking medication for diabetes should consult their doctor before taking turmeric or curcumin.

Ask Well: Plantar Fasciitis Relief

If you have stairs or a sturdy box in your home, along with a backpack, timely relief for plantar fasciitis may be possible.

Source: Ask Well: Plantar Fasciitis Relief

Ask Well: Plantar Fasciitis Relief

Photo

A sturdy box and a backpack can help with heel pain.
A sturdy box and a backpack can help with heel pain.Credit Michael Skovdal Rathleff

Asked by Marilyn • 610 votes

A

If you have stairs or a sturdy box in your home and a backpack, timely relief for plantar fasciitis may be possible, according to a new study of low-tech treatments for the condition.

Plantar fasciitis, the heel pain caused by irritation of the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot, can be lingering and intractable. Arecent study of novice runners found that those who developed plantar fasciitis generally required at least five months to recover, and some remained sidelined for a year or more.

Until recently, first-line treatments involved stretching and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen or cortisone. But many scientists now believe that anti-inflammatories are unwarranted, because the condition involves little inflammation. Stretching is still commonly recommended.

But the new study, published in August in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, finds that a single exercise could be even more effective. It requires standing barefoot on the affected leg on a stair or box, with a rolled-up towel resting beneath the toes of the sore foot and the heel extending over the edge of the stair or box. The unaffected leg should hang free, bent slightly at the knee.

Then slowly raise and lower the affected heel to a count of three seconds up, two seconds at the top and three seconds down. In the study, once participants could complete 12 repetitions fairly easily, volunteers donned a backpack stuffed with books to add weight. The volunteers performed eight to 12 repetitions of the exercise every other day.

Other volunteers completed a standard plantar fasciitis stretching regimen, in which they pulled their toes toward their shins 10 times, three times a day.

After three months, those in the exercise group reported vast improvements. Their pain and disability had declined significantly.Those who did standard stretches, on the other hand, showed little improvement after three months, although, with a further nine months of stretching, most reported pain relief.

The upshot, said Michael Skovdal Rathleff, a researcher at Aalborg University in Denmark, who led the study, is that there was “a quicker reduction in pain” with the exercise program, and a reminder of how books, in unexpected ways, can help us heal.

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